"A Faithful Attempt" is designed to showcase a variety of K-12 art lessons, the work of my art students, as well as other art-related topics. Projects shown are my take on other art teacher's lessons, lessons found in books or else designed by myself.
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Friday, August 21, 2015

Cubist Themed Watercolour Painting

Travel theme

This is one of my all-time favourite high school level watercolour lessons. I've done this lesson with Grades 10 - 12. It combines art history (Cubism) and watercolour techniques.
I start off with an introduction to Cubism, specifically Analytical Cubism, which I feel works better for this project due to the limited colours used. I show photos on the large flat screen TV I have in my art room. We discuss the fragmented quality of the images, value changes and gradations and multiple viewpoints. 

So students have to first think of a theme. Anything will work as long as they can draw 4-5 objects/items related to the theme. On heavy drawing paper or watercolour paper, students draw these items, making sure to vary the size for interest and spread the images out to fill the whole paper. Draw these lightly with pencil. Once the items are drawn, students then use a ruler to fracture or 'break-up' the picture plane into lots of angular or geometric sections. They just want to make sure they make conscious choices as to where to draw the lines to keep the whole composition balanced and to make sure not to have any super small sections as these are tricky to paint effectively.

Before painting, I demonstrate how to create a value change using watercolours. Start with pure pigment in one side of a section then add water gradually to blend out and fade the colour. One of my students remarked "Oh, it's like ombre!" Exactly! Each student takes a scrap piece of paper and does some practice sections before starting their good copy. They can also decide on the colours they will use at this point. I encourage a somewhat limited colour palette. The watercolours we use are Prang and Crayola brand, though I have a slight preference for Prang.

Grade 10 results:

Fashion theme

Social Media theme (famous logos: Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, etc)

Winter theme

Monday, July 27, 2015

Foil Embossing: tin foil and Sharpies

This was a super fun project my Grades 4- 6 mixed elective class did at the end of this school year. They LOVED this project- some even made 2 or 3. I pretty much followed the excellent instructions posted HERE on the "We Heart Art" blog. She found the idea on the Fine Lines blog. 

I was worried we would have to use that chunky yarn (of which I had none) but regular yarn worked well. I collect empty cereal boxes from my students all year long and stockpile them for projects such as these. Students drew some type of abstract pattern on the card. I encouraged them to use shapes as opposed to open lines as we would be colouring these in. Of course some did non-abstract images and some used some open lines and they all worked out regardless :)

Once the lines were drawn, students passed over the lines using regular white glue. Then they put pieces of yarn on top. We let these dry overnight.

It's important to use heavy duty aluminium foil for this next step. It's just sturdier and thicker.

Students cut a piece off the roll that was about an inch larger than their cardboard.

Then they covered the back of the tin foil liberally with a glue stick. They need to use ALOT and do it carefully in one direction so the foil doesn't bunch up and rip. Other blogs used spray glue for this step but I didn't have any- the glue stick worked pretty well.
Then put the foil over-top and, starting from the center, gently rub over the design using a small square of felt. It really works for buffing the foil over the yarn. Take your time with this step- the more you carefully rub around the yarn, the better the final artwork will work. Some students tended to rush this step.

Once it's all glued down, I show students how to neatly wrap the foil onto the back- a technique I used during my book-making phase ;)

Then the fun part: colouring the whole image with coloured Sharpies!
Don't colour the raised yarn part.
Here are Grades 4 - 6 results:


This students did 2: one using cool colours and one using warm colours

Monday, June 29, 2015

Super Cute Ladybugs

I found this super adorable ladybug project HERE on the Georgetown Elementary Art Blog. I also did it with my Grade 1 class- I have a big 'insects in art' unit I do with them, so this fit in nicely.

Day 1: I pre-cut 12 x 18" white paper into squares. They drew a border and painted it using tempera pucks. I love the convenience of these. I encouraged them to use a light colour for the center part (like yellow). That way, the ladybug that is glued on will really show up. 

The next class, students made their ladybugs out of red and black construction paper. They glued the body down frist, then an oval head on top. We used reinforcements for the eyes. The legs and antennae were drawn on using a black marker. 
They're so cute!

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Glue Line Chalk Pastel Landscapes

This is a chalk pastel landscape lesson I did in conjunction with the Grade 4 Social Studies teacher at my school. They study geographical regions in our province as part of their curriculum. In art, students chose a region to develop into a landscape. They needed to include a background, middle ground and foreground. We used one of my favourite techniques: clear glue on black construction paper. Students needed about 4-40 minute periods to complete these.

On day one, students chose a landscape region- I printed out reference photos for them from the Internet.

I also projected a slideshow of different landscape photos onto my flat screen tv (which I looooove).

Students drew their landscape, in pencil, on 12 x 18" black construction paper. 

Then they outlined all their pencil lines using Elmer's clear glue. I prefer clear glue, as opposed to white glue, for this technique. I will say, though, that these glue bottles are tough for little hands to squeeze- they're quite rigid, at least mine are. 

Let these dry flat overnight.

Then students coloured them in using chalk pastels. My students either LOVE or HATE chalk pastels!! I love how you can blend with them and easily go over any 'mistakes'. I hate how messy they are!! I demonstrated how to mix colours and use white to create highlights and extra realism.

Grade 4 results:


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